Speech Therapy vs Dyslexia Therapy with Dana Glaser
Interview with Dana Glaser
Matt: What brought you to LTC?
Dana: Originally I came to LTC as an alternative to working in the schools. I worked in the schools for 11 years in Wisconsin and then came down here. I ended up taking about a year off due to medical issues and having a hard time lifting kids up and putting them in swings. So I sat down with Jessi and we talked about changing the position and using more of my reading and literacy background.
Matt: What is the difference between speech therapy and dyslexia therapy?
Dana: The biggest difference would be that Lowcountry Dyslexia Center’s goals and objectives are much more focused on phonemic awareness and orthographic awareness, so how letters represent sounds. The lessons are much more focused on developing that along with reading comprehension, reading fluency, and spelling which are not part of typical speech therapy.
Matt: What are some of the myths about dyslexia?
Dana: The biggest myth would be that people with dyslexia read and write backwards. We certainly see that in a lot of kids with dyslexia such as things like the “b” and “d” reversals, but that does not mean that they are going to have dyslexia.
Matt: What are some of the signs of dyslexia?
Dana: Some of the biggest signs to me would be the difficulties at the sound level, being able to play with words, and being able to manipulate rhyming words. It really comes down to difficulties at that sound level, and knowing what letter represents what sound and being able to decode. Decoding is being able to look at a word and putting the sounds together and blending them correctly.
Matt: What does the dyslexia program entail?
Dana: Typically we start with a 2 part evaluation. The first part is a speech and language evaluation and the second part looks at site word reading and nonsense word reading. I also compare listening comprehension to reading comprehension. Once we have recommended therapy, we always include a plan for classroom accommodations whether it is books on tape, give warning if being called on, give copies of notes, etc. Then they come in and we teach them letter names, letter sounds, vowel combinations, etc. The curriculum follows the Orton-Gillingham Approach which is a very direct and structured program.
Matt: How can dyslexia therapy and speech therapy work together?
Dana: Speech and language and reading are twofold. In speech therapy we look at speech fluency, spoken language comprehension, and word meaning. In reading we talk about decoding, spelling, reading fluency, and reading comprehension, so really they are a nice blend. Some patients will also see a speech therapist to really focus on articulation and other spoken language aspects, so that when I see them we can focus on the literacy piece.
Matt: What should a family do if they have concerns that their child might have dyslexia?
Dana: They can look at our website and read about what dyslexia is. The international dyslexia association is an awesome resource with lots of information. Talk to your pediatrician and share your concerns with them. Even if your child is in kindergarten it is not too early to see if the phonological awareness needs to be worked on. You can contact us and come in and get an evaluation. If we don’t diagnosis with dyslexia we typically see speech and language impairments or a combination of language and literacy impairments, but no matter what they will leave with some suggestions to help build their skills.
-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT
Pediatric Physical Therapist